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Bed Bugs Continue to Plague New York City Subway

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After causing significant problems in August, bedbugs continue to plague New York City’s subway system, having survived the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s extermination efforts. Now, subway workers and unions are demanding that the MTA establish a regular schedule for subway car cleaning.

“The MTA is losing the war on bed bugs,” said chairman Joe Costales of the Transport Workers Union Local 100.

In August, there were 21 different bedbug sightings, which affected the A, L, N, Q, 3, 4, 5, and 6 lines. Though most of the sightings were on subway cars, there were sightings of the fiendish bugs in subway worker rooms and offices.

Upon investigation of the reports, the MTA did indeed find bedbugs and fumigated 16 of their trains.

However, the bloodsucking devils survived. Since September 3rd, the MTA has received reports of bedbugs on board three R trains, and has taken the trio out of service. Additionally, the MTA sent an A train to a rail yard following another bedbug sighting.

Consequentially, Costales and Kevin Harrington, a Local 100 vice president, have not only demanded that the MTA establish a regular schedule for cars to be sprayed, but also asked for the fumigation of the entire fleet and for more thorough cleanings.

Such demands are far from unreasonable, considering how quickly bedbugs can multiply and spread. In fact, the insects can lay up to as many as five eggs in just one day and more than 500 over their lifetime. In the meantime, they can hitch rides on clothing, living there for up to 30 days without needing to feed. Regular, thorough cleanings are one of the only ways to help ensure that bedbugs do not continue to plague the subway system.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz, though, said that would not alter its course of action.

“We continue to follow the same protocol,” he said. “Once we receive a report of a sighting, the train is taken out of service and inspected. In most cases, the car is then treated, even in cases where no bugs are found.”

These inspections are often done visually, but the MTA has also been known to bring in a pest control service that uses a bedbug-sniffing dog.

“Regular fumigation of cars would be a waste of time and resources considering we have not discovered an infestation anywhere in the system,” argued Ortiz, “and fumigating would only be as good as the next time a person walks into the system carrying a bug.”

Of course, considering that this course of action failed to be effective in August, it’ll likely be less than effective in September.